chapter  2
30 Pages


ByJohn M. Chambers

This chapter examines a path through the history of statistical software, in particular, software to support data analysis and statistics research. The path follows the evolution that would result in the current R language and its extensions. The chapter considers the relevant evolution of the essential software to which the original S provided an interface. The direct evolutionary path begins with the first version of S, described as "an interactive environment for data analysis and graphics". S was created by statisticians with an interest in computing, members of the statistics research community at Bell Labs. The software supported some reasonably ambitious applications of statistics to AT&T data and also research into some "computationally intensive" methods, such as robust estimation. Database management software was not usually included in the scientific libraries. The supporting software for the 650 was IBM's symbolic assembler program SOAP.